German Leopard Tanks. Berlin has hit NATO's spending target for first time in more than 30 years. (Morris MacMatzen/Getty Images)


Germany hits NATO spending target for first time since Cold War’s end


Germany has met a NATO alliance target to spend 2 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence for the first time since the early 1990s, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

Spending has ramped up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The German government is allocating the equivalent of 71.8 billion euros ($76.8 billion) for defence spending in the current year through regular and special budget outlays. However, the sum of its total defence spending is classified.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on February 14 that 18 countries were expected to meet the 2 per ent target.

NATO defence ministers are meeting in Brussels on February 15. A separate meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, hosted by the US, was due later on February 14.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Government has spotlighted its rising defence spending at an uncertain time for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

Former US president Donald Trump on the weekend outraged allies a couple of days ago by saying he would refuse to protect NATO members who did not “spend enough” on defence.

Reacting to those remarks in an interview on WELT TV on February 13, German defence minister Boris Pistorius said Trump risked damaging transatlantic relations and could “ultimately saw off the branch on which America is sitting”.

Pistorius pushed back at opposition suggestions that Germany should raise its special military defence fund to €300 billion from €100 billion, saying the Government should increase its regular budgetary outlay instead.

That would help Berlin in procurement over longer time horizons, he said. “You can actually only do this in a serious, long-term manner with an increased individual plan,” he added.

Pistorius also criticised the idea of creating a separate European nuclear defence umbrella, which gained attention after Trump’s remarks.

“I can only warn against starting such a discussion with such carelessness just because Donald Trump, who is not even a presidential candidate, makes such statements,” he said.